Lead: One of the most interesting developments in the history of transport was the role of government in subsidizing the pursuit of the Blue Riband.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the coming of the global economy in the 1900s speed in ocean transport became one of the vital goals of shippers. No prize was more valued than the Blue Riband, the mythic reward for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. At first American ships dominated the route between New York and Liverpool, England, but in the 1840s British ships, especially the Cunard steam and sail side-wheelers began to take the lead from the all-sail American packets. The foundation of Cunard's initial success was the mail subsidy. Parliament voted a large cash payment for regular transatlantic service to carry the mail. Ships could then carry cargo and passengers for a lesser fee than if they had to charge actual cost of transport. Speed and regular service were the key to obtaining the government subsidy. The faster the better.

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